Summary: I know it is a popular myth that the Christian is supposed to experience only the good ones of love, joy, and peace, but unfortunately the Word of God will not support this myth. God's people in the Bible felt every feeling there is to be felt.
Three Frenchmen have come to the rescue of fathers who have no pleasure
in trying to discover if their baby needs a diaper change. They have invented
a little electronic device that fits right into the infant's diaper. As soon as
there is any contact with moisture it breaks out with a bubbly rendition of
When The Saints Go Marching In. Shall We Gather At The River might have
been a more appropriate choice, but whatever the song, you have an
immediate warning of wetness.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if men could come up with a device that would
warn us when we are all wet in our thinking? When we are seeing life from a
false perspective and are down on life, wouldn't it be great if a gizmo
implanted in us began to play There Shall Be Showers Of Blessing, and we
could thereby be warned that we are all wet and not thinking with the mind of
Christ? The song would jolt us into an awareness that we need a change in
our perspective to get back on the dry ground and not be drowning in the sea
of our self-induced pessimism.
The interesting thing about studying the Bible account of Jacob and Joseph
is that the world has changed so much from their day to ours, but human
nature has not changed at all. The emotions we see in their lives are just the
same as what we experience in our lives today. Everything in the world can
change, but emotions stay the same. You have love and hate, and fear and
faith. You have the pain of the famine; the pleasure of the feast; the distress
and the delight; the regret and the rejoicing, and the guilt and the glory. They
are all here in this story, and they bear witness to the truth that God's people
experience all emotions.
I know it is a popular myth that the Christian is supposed to experience
only the good ones of love, joy, and peace, but unfortunately the Word of God
will not support this myth. God's people in the Bible felt every feeling there is
to be felt. Look at Reuben in verse 37. He is the first born, and he should be
old enough to know better, but he tries to change his stubborn father by
extreme emotionalism. He says to Jacob, "You may kill both of my sons if I do
not bring Benjamin back." This is really sick, and we see how dangerous
intense emotions can be for children. Fortunately, Jacob was not so loony he
would agree to such a thing. He could get no pleasure in killing two of his
grandsons. He was miserable because of the loss of his sons, and losing more
was certainly not a welcome solution to his grief.
What we have here is a case of child abuse because of excessive emotion. I
don't know if Reuben's two boys were standing there to hear this or not, but
the fact that he would say such a thing reveals the verbal abuse that so many
children suffer in our world. Uncontrolled emotions are the curse on children.
Parents can be so obsessed with what they think a child should be that they
become excessively emotional in the relationship. Joseph Heller in Something
Happened tells of angry father who can't stand the way his daughter is and he
says, "I have been so enraged with her that I have wanted to seize her firmly
by the shoulders, my darling little girl, and shake her and pummel her on the
face and shoulders with the sides of both my fists and scream, be happy you
selfish little brat! Can't you see our lives depend on it?" That is
Emotionalism was a major problem in the family God chose to be His
special people, and they did a lot of damage because of it. Jacob, of course,
was a very emotional person, and he gave his boys a bad example of control.
We see him in this chapter going all to pieces over his interpretation of events,
and it was a totally false view that seemed so valid to him. In verse 36 he says
that everything was against him, and he is in a depressed and panic mood.
The problem with the emotional family is that they tend to shoot first and ask
questions later. Their approach to life is to go by feelings and not reason.
Almost all of the sin and folly of God's chosen people was due to letting their
emotions be their guide.
Back in Gen. 34 when these brothers heard that their sister Dinah had
been raped they became far more evil than the rapist. They devised a plot to
kill all of the men in the city where the rapist lived. They carried out that plan